11:13am. Wednesday 24 August 2011
Post by: Stewart Wingate, CEO
No-one would argue with this. We know our passengers agree. It’s one of the three starting points for our passenger commitments.
We want to deliver the service you expect at every stage of the airport journey. So not only are we tackling queues directly within Gatwick’s control - at security for instance – we’re also working with our airlines and airport partners to reduce queues at check-in, baggage reclaim and border control (immigration).
The ideas we’re trying out with UKBA at the moment I think really prove we’re committed to working together to make it better for our passengers.
We want Gatwick to be recognised as a pilot airport for border control initiatives – a test-bed for innovation that will improve customer service and increase efficiency.
So we’re working closer than ever with UKBA staff at the airport to get to the heart of the problem and we’re not ruling out any ideas.
Since last November, we’ve been looking a bit closer at the queues at border control and sharing our findings and analysis with our UKBA colleagues. We’ve drilled down to the detail to look at exactly when and why queues form, how passengers move through the border zone (immigration), how we manage the queues and perceptions of the area as a whole. We’ve now got a lot of data showing strong performance across the board but highlighting a number of issues for us to tackle.
It doesn’t take long for a queue to form at passport control as plane-loads of passengers arrive at the same time. To help UKBA respond to demand at different times of day, we’re sharing experience from our own security team. There, our dynamic approach to planning security staff levels reflects the number of passengers arriving at check-in – it’s a great model for immigration where UKBA face similar challenges.
A couple of weeks ago, we introduced assistance lanes dedicated to families and passengers with reduced mobility to help them through the immigration checks.
Automating the process will also help some passengers and we’re happy to experiment with new technology. EU passengers with ‘chipped’ passports can now ‘self-serve’ as we’ve installed new automatic gates.
It’s also important to create the right environment and we’re now putting the finishing touches to the £8 million renovation of the South Terminal immigration hall. This will create more space and a more pleasant environment for passengers and staff.
Next time you fly into Gatwick, take a look at passport control and tell us if you think our initiatives are helping.
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